What is Android? It’s a pile of code that anyone with a little bit of knowledge can slap on a device. That’s the technical answer. For consumers though, Android is a mobile operating system that comes bundled with a whole bunch of Google applications that make their lives easier. There’s Gmail, Google Maps, Chrome, and of course the Google Play Store, where one can find applications from third party developers.
Barnes & Noble launched a series of “Android” tablets late last year under the Nook brand. I say “Android” because Barnes & Noble basically just took the Android source code and slapped it on a cheap tablet. They didn’t bother calling up Google so they could get their apps and services on their Nook devices, and that annoyed quite a lot of people.
It took a few months, but Barnes & Noble finally figured out that people want to use their tablets for things other than reading and the occasional movie. The company says that they’ll soon be pushing a software update out to the Nook HD and Nook HD+ that’ll give it access to Google’s Play Store. The update will also come with Chrome, YouTube, Gmail, and several other apps from the search giant.
This is what should have happened from day one, and while I want to say “better late than never”, the truth is people voted with their money and decided to buy tablets such as the Galaxy Tab, Nexus 7, and the iPad because they have app stores. Sorry B&N.
[Further Reading, including a video demo: Engadget]